Saturday, April 25, 2015

Working

This weekend, I have to work. It's ok. Well, it's not ok. The whole team was working so damn slowly, that the only way for me to meet a Monday deadline is to work over the weekend. Then again, that's why we set Monday or mid-week deadlines--to use the weekend if necessary. Never have a Friday deadline--your client isn't going to start reading anything on Friday unless you turn it in first thing, and maybe not then.

So, this weekend, I got up early, though not as early as I intended, and headed over to my favorite new coffee shop. I sat there for about two hours, interspersing my editing with facebook browsing and random internet reading.  I can never just do one thing. I switch back and forth to reduce the drudgery of what is an extreme editing task. Did I mention that most of my job seems to be editing? Well, managing--moving the pieces around--and then editing other people's work. I guess that's ok. I'm pretty good at it. Who thought that the major qualification I'd bring to bear on my career as a social scientist is my English degree? I don't think being an English major taught me to write--I was an English major because I was a good writer. Now my creative writing classes probably turned me into a better writer. Not a better creative writer (though maybe that too) but better at the technical aspects of writing--the grammar, syntax, construction, etc. The level of writing of my team is...poor. A lot of it is poor because I'm seeing first drafts and not everyone is a good first draft writer. And when we work on these deadlines, there's not time for people to go back and edit.  That's where I come in...but...but...it can be really challenging to fix someone else's poor construction.  Half the time, you're guessing at what they meant and the wrong edit can completely change the meaning of something. So, ideally, the original authors should have the final review, to confirm that your edits didn't alter the substance. We just hardly ever have time for it, but I do it whenever possible. I know our subcontractor would like to hand us their work and never have me touch it and never hear from me again but their work is so crummy that I have to make a ton of edits every single time. And do they allow time for a final review? Never.  Damn. I so want off this terrible project. Hold it together, lady! Yes, I can do this. It's not like I have anything better to do this weekend...sigh.

Grateful for: excellent writing skills.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Surprise

Is it really a surprise that I heard from Austin again? On Tuesday, he texted me a bunch of links to albums posted on youtube. I'd said that I didn't listen to much new music anymore. I liked what he sent. We chatted a little, I told him about my car break-in and my job interview. Kind of an eventful day. Random inappropriate dude gets in touch, someone smashes in my car window, and I get a call for a job interview.

I am pretty stressed out at work and somehow that means that I'm not getting much done. I'm arguing with my sub-contractor about petty nothings. I'm waiting for other people to finish things so I can spend the weekend working on them. I guess that's why I'm not working too hard this week--because this is going to be a 7-day week. Sigh.

Grateful for: attention.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dreaming

I had a dream last night that I was at a job interview. I was asked why I left my last job and I said it was because of my horrible supervisor.

Why am I having this dream? Because I have a job interview next week. It's at a small non-profit organization. It's a much better place for me, but it's stirring up a lot of feelings. Guilt over the prospect of leaving my current employer in the lurch. I don't like my job, not really, but they've been very good to me, given me a great opportunity, and I'm learning a lot. If I leave them now, there's no going back--the betrayal would be too big. Wouldn't it?

And then I wonder, have I really ever liked any job? I did like driving the van in college. Working at the movie theater was ok. The work itself was horrible drudgery, but the people were great and I had a lot of fun there--plus free movies. Being a TA was boring and stressful. Being an RA was pretty fun. My long government career was horribly boring for most of my tenure, but when it started to get interesting, the management disasters began. And even if the management were better, and even though the projects were very interesting, the actual work that I had to do was pretty dull.  I have no confidence that the new job would be more interesting. They should hire me of course--I have all the qualifications. The only risk is that I'm overqualified (I really am--how did that happen?). But it's more the type of job that fits with how I see myself. With the role I want to have in this world. A small, non-profit, focused on social justice issues. That's what I care about, even if the work itself turns out to be dull.  Still, I wonder, is there such a thing as a job that I would actually enjoy?

Also, yesterday, someone broke one of the passenger door windows on my car. They only thing they took was a big box full of clothing and miscellaneous items that were destined for Goodwill. Maybe I should've left the car unlocked, because now I get to pay a few hundred bucks to repair the window. Oh well. At least my current job makes the money a non-issue.

Grateful for: new opportunities.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Flowers

The cherry blossoms are gone but everything else is fully in bloom. I like to represent the underrepresented floral displays in DC. 


Friday, April 17, 2015

Last night

I don't know if this is good news or not, but I heard from the bad news guy yesterday. It was an apology and a goodbye. That's fine. I already knew I was done with him and I was sort of glad that he bothered to say something. One assumes (foolishly?) that he took so long to get in touch because he was either trying to decide what he wanted to say to me, what he wanted to happen, and whether he was going to bother to respond to me at all. So, while he is still an ass, he at least gave me some resolution.  Moving on.

I received the goodbye text while I was out having a drink with a different guy, Austin. I met Austin online a while ago and we had a fun time texting but nothing ever came of it. I was scrolling through my messages, a symptom of my frustration, and I came across Austin's last message. On a whim, I contacted him--and he responded. We chatted and decided to go for a drink. Before we met, he told me he'd reunited with his girlfriend, so I had my eyes open. I felt fine with that--I need friends to go hang out with and grab drinks. Pele is way too busy. Liz is way too scheduled. Nancy was never free for that. C-money can do the movie thing every few weeks but we never just hang out spontaneously.  I told Austin that he could be my wing man and he was cool with that.

Our meeting went well. We'd gotten along very well virtually and we had an easy rapport in person right from the start. Definitely helped that there was no dating pressure due to it not being a (romantic) date! When we'd talked before he told me he knew a guy who used to work where I used to work. Turns out, I know the guy too! That was pretty funny. We got a drink one place then went somewhere else to eat. Over dinner, Austin brought up the topic of his girlfriend. I'd been thinking about it but I also didn't care. I know where the boundary is and that makes things easy for me. Even if I'm super crushed out on a guy with a girlfriend, I've never had a problem restraining myself. I did find myself acting a little odd--I wanted to just relax and listen to someone else talk, but instead I did a lot of talking, per usual. Austin and I had a lot of surprising things in common--our parents had married, divorced, and remarried. We both spent some formative years in the same mid-sized southern city, and we are the same age (within months). He seemed particularly happy about the age thing and he's probably right that it put us in a comfort zone--having the same frame of reference is helpful. Still, we're also really different--he's from the south and his family is WASP-y with a lot of career military men (his father and both grandfathers). They are hardly the intellectual, Jewish strivers that make up most of my ancestors. That's not good or bad, but it's not the same frame of reference.

Anyway, when he brought up his girlfriend, I could tell something was up. He's not particularly happy with her. He asked me if he was a coward for not breaking up with her (short answer: yes). And I could see he wanted something from me. Not to cheat on her with me but maybe to get some kind of reassurance that she wasn't his last chance? Or maybe I'm the back up plan? It made me uncomfortable. I've been weighing this in my mind...and while I like him, I think he may be bad news for me. I would so like a buddy to hang out with. It would be great if that buddy were a boyfriend, but just a close friend who I could spend more time with, and talk to would be so great. Austin could be that if he didn't have another agenda. Maybe...well...I hope I'm wrong, but when am I ever wrong? I didn't want to write this because I don't want to be right, but I also decided I needed to be honest--with you and myself. So, my plan is to do nothing, to initiate nothing. If he gets in touch, maybe I'll see him again, but I'm not going to make any decisions right now.

Grateful for: honesty.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Where is the dating?

Given the ups and downs of life, real and blog, I'm going to try again to revive my writing. In the past, the blog helped when I was feeling dissatisfied and I'm going to put it to that use again. I will see if I can find a nugget of hopefulness in there somehow. That's my gimmick and I'm sticking to it!

So, today is better than yesterday. I'm not sad, just a little tired. I felt foolish, and I still do a bit, but I will try and learn my lesson yet again. Nancy was one of the people I texted and she wrote to me again today asking if I'd figured out why I get so emotionally drawn in by these bad news situations. I wish I had an answer for that but I assured her I was no longer in pain. She responded, "...pain is the worst thing ever." I don't agree with her. Pain is bad. It's unpleasant, but it's necessary. How do you know what joy is, what pleasure is, if you never feel pain? I suggested that pain has a lesson and I need to learn what it is. In this instance, the lesson is that something about this particular guy triggers something unhealthy in me and I will never engage with him again. I get it. He probably isn't a bad person (I hope not), but he is bad news for me and I'm staying away from him.

Because Nancy and I don't talk the way we used to, she doesn't know how much calmer I generally am when it comes to "stupid boys." You don't know either, because most of my dating is invisible on the blog. I am much better at handling situations where the expectations are clear from the beginning. I don't get worked up and I only sometimes struggle a bit with how long to wait to get in touch with someone--or whether not to get in touch at all. I get frustrated and I have expressed that all too often. I don't quite understand why I don't have a boyfriend and haven't had one for years. I am older and fatter and maybe the answer is as simple as that. But older and fatter people do seem to have relationships and I am still funny, smart, pretty, etc. A catch, in fact! I have been dating people that I meet online almost exclusively for the last few years. I simply haven't met anyone in real life who asked me out--or who I liked enough to ask out. I have been thinking about this and looking over the long list of failed dates over the last few years. I haven't tracked how many guys asked me out a second time who I rejected, but it was many. Usually, if I wanted to go out with the guy again, he was willing. I'm screening them out fast and furious. I'm also not getting out enough. I'm not in places where it's even possible to meet men. I go to my knitting group almost every week and I really enjoy it--but it's all women. It won't stop me from going but I need to expand my activities. I go on the bike rides with my friends, but it's a small group. I'm going on a group ride with different folks this weekend, but it's another (by design) all-woman group. Shoot, I can't remember the last time I just went to the local bar for a drink. Maybe something as simple as that would be a good thing to do. It's like I'm out of practice being in public and interacting with strangers. Is it a skill that you can lose?

I've been thinking a lot about starting to go salsa dancing again. There is a place near my office that has salsa dancing on Tuesday nights. I keep meaning to go but even contemplating the logistics exhausts me and going alone seems daunting. I used to have a friend I went salsa dancing with, but she's long gone. I do feel like something is a bit "off" right now. Maybe it's been that way for a while. I'm far removed from the misery of my old job, which I think has helped. At least I'm going out on all those dates! But my attitude is still wonky and I wish I were happier in general. I'm not entirely satisfied with the new job but it's manageable.

I'll keep thinking on this and try and figure out how to push myself a little more but in the right way--a way that will also be comfortable for me.

Grateful for: friends who help me consider different perspectives.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Reflection

I just spent way too much of my day reading over this blog. I had an immediate purpose but it strikes me how valuable the blog is to me as a personal history. I'm glad that other people have at times read it and enjoyed it, but this is my diary and it's interesting to see what's changed and what hasn't over the years. In this round, I was looking over the last three years on a account of a random dude reappearing. I knew I had written about him but I didn't put all (hardly any!) of the details on the blog. I did record when we met (New Year's Eve, 2011--well it was 2012 at the time we met) and how I was disappointed that things didn't move in a dating direction with him. What I didn't tell you was that we did see each other a few more times and it was ok. Nothing was ever as much fun as that first night we met but I still liked him and had reasonable expectations. The last time we met was sometime in 2012, but I didn't mark it on the blog. Things didn't go well. He said something that I found insulting and I had enough of him. I packed up fast and ran out of his house leaving him with a few choice words. What a shame I didn't write them down! But I remember the anger. I also remember texting him a few days--weeks?--later, after I cooled down. He was stupid but I was more frustrated than angry. His response to that last text was, "who is this?" Damn. He'd deleted me! (This is why you don't delete people you don't want to hear from--if you delete them, they're not blocked and then you don't know if it's someone you're avoiding or someone you just haven't attached a name to yet who belongs to that number.)  After that, I was really and truly done.

Then very early last Sunday morning, he found me on the dating site that shall remain nameless. I have a bad habit of checking my phone in the wee hours if I wake up. I checked it and there was a message from someone. He knew my name but I was pretty sure we hadn't corresponded on the site before. I wondered if it were that guy...the guy from NYE some years ago. I asked a few questions, and yes, it was him. But we met in real life! Not online. But he deleted my number and this is how he found me. Nutso. We wrote back and forth a bit then he gave me his number. Guess what? I still had it! Then we texted for a while. He wanted to see me. I should come cover and take a walk with him. I should cuddle and sleep over and we'd spend a day watching movies. He really liked me and thought I was so beautiful and had such a great body. He liked me but didn't think we were a good match as a couple, but I should just come over. I don't know why I kept going with him. I refused to go over. I had plans for Sunday. At first I said he could come to me but I reneged on that. We kept texting. I got a bit of an explanation for what happened during our last bad encounter. (Not about me! What a surprise.) Then I finally had to go to sleep. It had gone on for hours.

I kept my plans for Sunday, completely exhausting myself with a 36-mile bike ride. I texted him again when I got home. Nothing. Once more time the next day. Nada. I asked him a favor today. Complete silence. Yes, I'm done, 100% done, but something about the whole thing completely bums me out. He wasn't for me. We both knew it. I still might've enjoyed seeing him again--but probably not. He saved me a lot of trouble by disappearing. I should be grateful. But I'm not. I'm just sad, annoyed with myself, and very frustrated.

Today, I was unproductive at work and I started texting my friends. I felt so lonely. I heard back from all the friends I contacted, even if it was just to apologize for not having time to talk. Everyone was kind and understanding and said he was an idiot. It helped. I'm sure I'll feel better tomorrow. Tonight I may eat some ice cream.

Grateful for: understanding friends.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Lazy weekend

On Friday, I thought I might go to work on Sunday. It's Sunday and I'm thinking that's a terrible idea. Came out to Union Market again--don't do this every weekend, but it's one of my potential routines. The fellow at the coffee shop greeted me by name--nice! A few weeks ago, he asked my name and said, "I should know it by now." Well, I suppose since he's been working the same coffee shop (previously at a different branch) for over five years and I've been a customer longer than that, yes, it would be kind of nice if he remembered me. So now he does. But I don't know his name. I've never been one of those chatty customers that tries to make friends with the staff. I always say hello and make eye contact. Sometimes I chat if it's not too busy and I have something to say. Maybe next time I'll ask his name. About time, right?

At the coffee shop, I also saw a guy give a one dollar tip on a two dollar cup of coffee. Generous? Sure, but also lazy since he paid by credit card and the automated system that gives you the opportunity to tip starts with $1. Lazy.

And I'm also overhearing a long conversation about "wearables." Specifically, the Apple watch which, "no one is fucking interested in, you know what I mean?" No, tell me more. Wait, don't.

Next week is Passover and I'm gearing up for a tiny Seder. Right now it's three and may be as many as five. Small is good. But I still have to buy a lot of food and make ridiculous things because...because I do. I have no memory of it but I guess I had a small Seder last year. Who was there? Who can remember? Elizabeth, C-money, Pele? Well, that's who I've invited this year, plus a couple more who can't make it. It's fine. It'll be nice.

I am still going on the occasional date but I'm feeling discouraged. I'm a discouraged dater. I think I need to de-activate my accounts for a while. I never go out anymore and I don't find the opportunities to meet people "in real life." Maybe that's the problem? Also on the free site, about 90% of the contacts I get are from fake/scammer accounts. I'm pretty good at spotting them these days but that's also really discouraging! You can tell they're fake because if you ask a real question, say about politics, they won't answer or say "I don't have any politics" and then ask "what are yours?" I don't usually get that far in any of those convos, but that's the question I ask now and it really stumps them.

Work, work is pretty frustrating but I actually think it's going pretty well. I am doing what needs to be done but I'm not enjoying it very much. Still better than the old job! That's what I need to remember until I decide on my next steps.

It's getting chilly in here. I need to move.

Grateful for: a decent life.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Seattle

Should I try again for something more positive? This week, I'm on the west coast. I started in Berkeley on Friday for my dad's birthday.  Then I came up to Seattle and I'll go back to DC on Sunday. I've actually been working the whole week in Seattle, up to and over six hours a week. Yep, that's my job! I did this last summer and it worked out pretty well. Seemed to help me get along with Mom and structured my time. It means I don't get to do as much exploring/reminiscing around town but that's ok.  I am seeing the two friends I always see and thinking about all the old friends I never see.  Today, I walked from Mom's house to the U-district. Sitting in a coffee shop and thinking about working but maybe I just won't work. I haven't decided. Maybe I do need to take at least one work day off on this so-called vacation.  I don't even know how much leave I have. Almost none after my December actual vacation...but they'll let me go in the hole, so I can't complain.

It's raining lightly but I have a decent coat that kept me dry on my half hour walk this morning. I'm maybe half a mile from campus, which is my next stop. I'm feeling kind of lazy and kind of ready to be home.  Funny how that works.  Why does being around your own stuff make such a difference? I have to say, I rather enjoy the limited wardrobe travel imposes. So many fewer decisions to make. I've been reading about famous people's self-created uniforms (think Steve Jobs). I love that idea but in the professional world, it's a bit harder to pull off unless you own the company. Then again, I'm almost on my way, as I only have two pairs of work pants at the moment. I'm also trying not to buy any new clothing...maybe for the rest of the year? So that leaves me with a limited, but still large, set of choices. I'd love to give away about half my closet, but gearing up for that decision is also tiring. I like the idea to simplify the day by reducing choices. I do have a set breakfast these days, and that does make life easier. I cook more and bring that for lunch, also easier. Eating out for lunch is now a treat and not a chore. Also on this trip, I started up my morning exercise routine again, taking advantage of my early waking times. I am not purposefully staying on east coast time but I'm not trying to adjust to the west coast either. I'm sure I'll still be a mess the first week I'm back, but maybe I can keep on the exercise thing. It does make me feel better and that would help with the cheering up, right?

Ok, time for the second walk of the day!

Grateful for: Seattle.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Timing

I'm back at my coffee shop, which isn't a coffe shop at all. It's Union Market and I got here a bit too late to easily find a table...but I did eventually suceed. I want to put something a little happier out in the universe after my last post, but what can I say, I am finding dating very discouraging. I keep meeting people online who seem ok, and then in real life, it's a total bust. Two weeks ago I had a date that went pretty well, but when he never called again, I was more relieved than disappointed. Last week, I had a date that went poorly and I was relieved when it was over. Today, I was supposed to have a date--first he delayed and then he canceled. So annoying. Maybe I will have a date with a different guy tonight and possibly a third guy tomorrow. Both of those are probably dates I shouldn't have made because the guys are too young for anything long term. I've been open to other things but I wonder if that's why I'm so disatisfied now. I don't want a date or two or three here and there. I want one relationship with one person to last a long time. People do it all the time and even people at my age seem to manage it anew, so I'm going to try and stay hopeful and positive rather than needy and pessimistic. Yeah, good luck with that.

Work is also pretty frustrating at the moment. I keep butting heads with "Laura." She is the woman who used to be the project manager for the project I now manage. It's clearer and clearer to me that she's in an impossible position and nothing we do is going to make it easy for her to continue on the project. I'm almost 100% sure that she has to go...but how can I help her exit gracefully? She is already pissed at me...and I'm not very happy with her either. I understand that she wants autonomy--been there!--but that is a bit different than me only having the most general idea of what she's up to. This has to change, I've asked for transparency, but she continues to resist and undermine my ability to manage the project. I'm not sure what the next steps are but I'm working on it.

The real problem with all of this is that I'm back in the same situation as I was in my old job. My work is consuming, and my personal life is kind of a bore. At least a lot of work is actually intersting now--but this personal/personnel issue is starting to overwhelm everything else. I'm getting stressed out and feeling more and more on edge. It's not good, it's not healthy and it has to stop. Man, I really wish I had a boyfriend. Sigh.

Well, total fail on the cheerfulness front! Guess I'll move on to the next exciting part of my day--cleaning the house. Hooray.

Grateful for: a good job and a decent place to live.